Minimal consumption scenario

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This is a thought-experiment to look at the minimum amount of resources needed to sustain a reasonably good quality of life. Some basic requirements include:

  • Enough food/nutrition this means there should be enough calories, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals - it should be enough to sustain an active lifestyle, not just a sedentary one and water
  • Enough housing that everyone could at least have their own room utilities: water, electricity, internet, etc and other spaces parks, stores, places to hang out, etc
  • Not being overworked; there should be enough time for friends/family/etc
  • Fun things to do beyond just surviving lol

This is NOT a build-from-scratch scenario. The world already has plenty of houses, buildings, infrastructure etc. If we can use what we got, it's a lot greener.

The scenario


Non-food items

  • A culture of "not buying anything new if it's available used"
  • Never throwing out things unless they're broken
  • People who want to de-clutter their homes (or move) would give things away
  • Gift economies would be global, allowing currently-poor countries to have more material wealth
  • Electronics
    • Software wouldn't be bloated, so it would work fine on older computers & phones.
    • Hardware would be designed with right to repair in mind.
  • New goods would still be manufactured when used ones aren't available.


  • Neighborhoods would be walkable
  • Public transit would be available (except in places where it would actually use more fuel than driving)
  • People would carpool as much as possible


  • Heating would be as geothermal as possible
  • Home electricity usage (other than heating) would stay the same; it's a small enough part of global energy usage anyway.


Analysis needed: To what extent would all of this reduce:

  • Energy demand
  • Factory labor
  • Minerals mined
  • Pollution

With the reduced energy demand, does green energy become more viable?

If you want to help with the analysis, join the discussion.